MMA Fighter Justin Thornton Dies at 38 After Injury at Bare-Knuckle Event

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This afternoon, TMZ has informed us that MMA fighter Justin Thornton has died. The 38-year-old had been suffering from injuries he sustained during a violent fight in August. But the official cause of death has not been released.

Dillon Cleckler injured Thornton when he KO’ed him during a Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) event in Biloxi, Mississippi on August 20th. Cleckler punched Thornton in the face repeatedly before Thornton fell headfirst onto the mat. The MMA fighter was motionless for several minutes before being rushed to a local hospital.

The 19-second championship event left Thornton partially paralyzed. He had been in the hospital since the fight where he was being treated for a spinal cord infection. He also spent several weeks hooked up to a ventilator.

Though he was publically battling the injuries sustained from the August fight, officials did not say if those injuries caused his death.

This afternoon, BKFC officials confirmed that Justin Thorton had passed.

“This morning we were very saddened to be notified of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton, who competed at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021,” BKFC President Dave Feldman said in a statement. “We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Thornton had been a career fighter since 2008. His record was 8-16.

MMA Fighter Kyle ‘Boom’ Reyes Dies After Undergoing Surgery

TMZ confirmed that MMA fighter Kyle Reyes died after undergoing surgery for a torn bicep and broken hand. Reyes spent several days in the hospital. But he passed on August 31st.

The day after receiving surgery at his gym, Kyle Reyes was found in his home completely unresponsive. He was then admitted into the ICU where he developed pneumonia and a collapsed lung. The fighter remained in the hospital and began improving. But his health quickly turned, and he died at the age of 30.

“On Friday he had reconstructive surgery for his torn biceps on his left arm. The next 24 hours his health went downhill,” read his family’s GoFundMe page. “The doctors had found out he had an infection in his lung, pneumonia causing his right lung to collapse, oxygen levels at 50 which caused his brain to swell, he also had a temperature of 102. The infection had spread to his lungs, his organs were shutting down and we didn’t know the extent of damage to his brains and if he would come back to the same goofy, determined, living man that he is.”

Kyle “Boom” Reyes was a legendary fighter from Guam who trained at Randy Couture’s gym in Las Vegas. He fought for various promotions worldwide and had a professional record of 15-7.